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Author Topic: A Tale of Two Maycombs  (Read 510 times)

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August 16, 2015, 05:57:09 PM

paint it Black

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When Harper Lee sat down to write Go Set a Watchman, she put to paper her original ideas about the town of Maycomb, Alabama and its inhabitants.  By the time it had passed the eyes of her publisher and emerged as To Kill a Mockingbird, this version had certainly changed somewhat.   How does the history of the characters differ in these two books?  In Go Set a Watchman, which absent character from To Kill a Mockingbird do you miss the most?  Which was the most significant character later added to To Kill a Mockingbird?

One area that was presented differently in Go Set a Watchman was the iconic trial from To Kill a Mockingbird, where Atticus defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.  Does the presentation in Go Set a Watchman change your feelings about the trial, or about Atticus?

While To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the life of a young child, Go Set a Watchman follows Jean Louise Finch as an adult.  Do you think that the main theme of the book changes as well?  What other differences and similarities do you see in the theme(s) of these books?

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
May 24, 2016, 11:41:18 PM
Reply #1

Laura W

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Well, I FINALLY read this book.   :ashamed:

Let's just say that it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  As a YA book - which is how I see it - written in the mid-1950s, it isn't bad.  Needs a lot of editing, in my opinion, but a really good first effort. Can't hold a candle to To Kill a Mockingbird, but I didn't expect it to.

To me, they really are two different books.  Two different stories.  The Atticus in Watchman is not the Atticus in TKAM; the Scout in Watchman is not the Scout in TKAM, etc.  And that's okay with me.  Between the approximately five years that Lee wrote the two books, she made different decisions on who the characters would be.  And since she thought the first effort - Go Set a Watchman - would never be published, Lee  had no worries about readers comparing the two books and picking out inconsistancies in them.  (Unlike poor Jo.)

Still, I think the Atticus of TKAM was far more "colour blind" than the one in Watchman.  Nonetheless, I saw no evidence in Mockingbird that he would have approved of something like interracial marriage.  He was very progressive compared to most of the characters in Mockingbird, to be sure, but was still a product of his time and place.  Mostly, he believed in equality under the law.  Which he sort of still did in Watchman.  (Sort of.)  Naturally, I like the Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird a lot more than the Atticus Finch in To Set a Watchman.

Actually, I liked both the Scout of Mockingbird and Jean Louise of Go Set a Watchman.  To me, they share more  characteristics than the two Atticus Finch's do. 

« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:50:28 PM by Laura W »